Everything You Need to Know About MBA Types and MBA Concentrations

Oct. 23, 2020

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A master of business administration (MBA) is a serious investment that enhances your career, life and community. MBA degrees shape future business leaders with the communication, technical, leadership and managerial skills necessary to succeed in today’s rapidly-evolving business settings.

There’s plenty of MBA formats to choose from that fit your specific needs, work experience and time schedule. With so many formats and concentrations to choose from, selecting the right MBA program can be a daunting task. Never fear—we have laid out each type of MBA and their key features and components so that you can find the program that suits you the best.

MBA Formats

Full-Time MBAs

Overview: A full-time MBA program is generally a two-year on-campus program that engages students with a well-rounded, in-person graduate experience and, depending on the program, offers various student activities, international opportunities and club opportunities along with intriguing coursework.

At the Eller College of Management, our faculty, alumni and corporate partners come together to offer MBA students the in-depth and real-world experience they need to truly lead in today’s fast-paced, ever-evolving business landscape. The in-person component allows for the formation of a tight-knit community of classmates that work closely together throughout the two-year program.

Curriculum: Though the curriculum will be specific to the program attended, each experience will generally cover areas that include:

  • A core set of analytically oriented business topics such as finance, accounting, marketing, economics, operations, management, information systems, leadership and business communications
  • The fundamentals for success in individual and team-based settings
  • Experiential learning, managerial and business communications capabilities and professional development activities
  • A competitive internship related to the chosen field of study (note: internships are not guaranteed—students must apply and pursue them)

Learn more about the Eller College of Management’s Full-Time MBA Program.

Professional/Part-Time MBAs

Overview: Also known as a part-time MBA, the professional MBA is geared towards employees who work full-time, are generally between the ages of 24 to 35, have at least three years of work experience and take classes after work—either in the evenings or on weekends.

Curriculum: At the Eller College of Management, the professional MBA is delivered in a hybrid format:

  • Foundational courses are offered online, complimented by in-person bi-weekly practicums to develop each student’s professional skillset
  • Focusing on data visualization, hands-on learning and a flexible schedule
  • Twenty-one months long with two courses online every eight weeks, with in-person, hands-on practicums a couple times a month.
  • Projects designed to showcase the skills learned in class

Learn more about the Eller College of Management’s Professional MBA Program.

Evening MBAs

Overview: Generally, evening MBA programs are focused on providing a flexible academic schedule as well as a rigorous curriculum to working professionals who aspire to stretch their skill set and improve their work quality in their career.

The main difference between an evening MBA and a part-time MBA program is the modality. In contrast to the part-time MBA, the Eller evening MBA is specifically structured for just one six-hour evening per week, plus an initial four-day launch session and a ten-day global business experience, allowing students to gain insights and camaraderie from a shared experience.

Curriculum: An evening MBA program includes much of the same material of that of the full-time and part-time MBA. At Eller, students are taught necessary leadership skills that allow them to reach whatever their goals are in the business world. An Eller evening MBA program will cover areas including:

  • Traditional business fundamentals and the latest competitive strategies
  • Leadership in organizations, management communications and advanced business communications
  • Market-based management, managerial economics and financial management
  • The global context of business as well as a Global Business Experience abroad

Learn more about the Eller College of Management’s Evening MBA Program.

Online MBAs

Overview: An online MBA program is aimed at providing students a blend of schedule adaptability and academic rigor, with the ability to complete an MBA degree at their own pace and entirely online—in as little as 14 months or as much as four years. Eller’s Online MBA Program offers six starting date options per year.

Curriculum: Though every online MBA program differs, most offer a curriculum that is suited to the student’s pace of work. Eller’s online MBA courses are offered in a carousel format that repeats every 12 months, where there are two sessions per semester; a typical session offers two core courses and a minimum of two electives. To complete the degree, students take 45 credits, including 28 core units and 17 elective units.

Learn more about the Eller College of Management’s Online MBA Program

Dual Degree MBAs

Overview: Dual degree MBA programs offer accessibility to a curriculum that allows students to combine an MBA degree with other graduate degrees. Dual-degree programs are structured so that students spend defined academic years in a single school or college. By combining an MBA with another graduate degree, MBA students are uniquely positioned to create value in some of the most dynamic and interesting enterprises in today’s marketplace.

Pursuing a dual degree program often adds one additional academic year onto the year of study of the longest program (for example, a two-year optics program will require a third year for the MBA; a four-year medicine program will require a fifth year for the MBA. At the Eller College specifically, many of our dual degree programs can be completed in just two years total.

Types of Dual Degrees Offered at Eller Include:

  • MBA/Master’s in Marketing
  • MBA/Master’s in Accounting
  • MBA/Master’s in Business Analytics
  • MBA/Master’s in Finance
  • MBA/Master’s in MIS

Learn more about the Eller College of Management’s MBA Dual Degree Programs.

Executive MBAs

Description: An executive MBA (EMBA) specifically targets those in business leadership and corporate executive positions, providing them with the tools necessary to further exceed in their current and future careers. Generally, a significant amount of work experience is required in order to attend the program.

The Eller College of Management’s EMBA includes a hybrid schedule designed to bring executive students together for two intensive days of on-campus class every month, in addition to online courses that round out the 21-month experience.

Curriculum: A rigorous set of coursework, EMBAs are focused on providing corporate professionals with the skills required to navigate the challenges of upper level business leadership. At the Eller College of Management, courses weave multiple aspects of business together and is a unique blend of hybrid of online courses and monthly in-person classwork.

Learn more about the Eller College of Management’s Executive MBA.

MBA Concentrations

A worthwhile addition to any MBA experience is a specialization/concentration of choice. These concentrations allow students to learn an area they are interested in through the lens of business management.

There are many types of MBA concentrations to choose from, each focused on a different area of business. For example, if a student was interested in working in the healthcare industry as a business leader, they would work towards an MBA with a Healthcare Management concentration to receive the knowledge that comes with an MBA as well as how to use these principles in a healthcare setting.

Choosing to have a specialization is solely the decision of the student and depends on the interests of the student and what they would like to focus on throughout receiving their MBA.

Here are possible specializations for a Master of Business Administration (sample list). In order of popularity (https://mbanogmat.com/21-best-mba-specializations-for-the-future/):

  • Entrepreneurship*
  • Finance*
  • Marketing*
  • Supply Chain Management/Operations
  • Energy and Clean Tech
  • Healthcare Management*
  • Management Information Systems (MIS)*
  • Strategic Operations Management
  • Social Entrepreneurship/Nonprofit
  • Media Management
  • Information Technology
  • Human Resources
  • Homeland Security
  • International Business
  • Management Consulting
  • Agri-Business Management

* Offered at the Eller College of Management

Entrepreneurship (Offered at the Eller College of Management)

Entrepreneurship is taking on risks, being creative and taking strategic measures to build a business from the ground up. This concentration focuses on analysis, decision making and business planning, looking at relevant curriculum that often includes current business trends and techniques.

Learn more about Eller’s MBA Entrepreneurship concentration.

Finance (Offered at the Eller College of Management)

A finance concentration is about learning how to efficiently manage business and personal funds and developing the analytical skills to do so. Some examples of how finance professionals work include: corporate finance officers helping their companies raise capital that often finances new plants and new products, resulting in new jobs; lending officers at banks, savings and loans and credit unions helping their customers finance homes or college education; portfolio managers investing the retirement funds of millions of people.

Learn more about Eller’s MBA Finance concentration.

Marketing (Offered at the Eller College of Management)

Marketing is a set of interacting business activities designed to plan, price, promote and distribute goods and services. Students with a marketing concentration explore buyer behavior, marketing research, market segmentation, the development of products and services, pricing strategies, distribution systems, advertising and promotion and the creation of strategies to meet consumer needs and organizational goals.

Learn more about Eller’s MBA Marketing concentration.

Supply Chain Management / Operations

A concentration in supply chain management gives students the opportunity to learn how to make effective decisions in relation to what a business will choose to sell to a customer. Learning how to negotiate deals with current suppliers, move a product from production point to sell point as well as logistics that go along product processes are a few aspects of business an MBA student might receive in this specialization.

Energy and Clean Tech

An energy and clean tech specialization is specifically for students interested in managing renewable energy and environmentally-friendly tech. Students in this specialization will likely analyze economic determinants of the industry, strategies for entering new markets as well as competing in existing markets and different public policies in energy markets.

Healthcare Management (Offered at the Eller College of Management)

With the healthcare management concentration, students dive deep into how business within the medical and healthcare industry works, with all the challenges and opportunities that come with it. This industry is rapidly evolving in terms of how business, medicine and technology connect.

Learn more about Eller’s MBA Healthcare Management concentration.

Management Information Systems (MIS) (Offered at the Eller College of Management)

The field of management information systems (MIS) involves applying computer technology, quantitative techniques and administrative skills to the information processing requirements of organizations. MIS combines computer technology with management decision-making methods to analyze, design, implement and manage computerized information systems in an organizational environment.

Learn more about Eller’s MBA MIS concentration.

Strategic Operations Management

The strategic operations management MBA concentration is focused on giving students the tools to be organizationally efficient. Students are taught how to be effective leaders in business by improving and building on their organizational performance. Potential careers include general operations managers, chief operating officers (COOs), manufacturing directors and plant managers.

Social Entrepreneurship/ Nonprofit

This specialization allows students to bring their foundational knowledge about how to function as a business leader and combine this education with their studies about the business of nonprofits. Social Entrepreneurship is practiced by business leaders who use the principles of business to implement solutions to current social problems.

Digital Media Management

A specialization in digital media management is designed to provide students the skills necessary to lead a company in the development and production of varying digital media projects such as social media, music, video games, movies and websites.

Information Technology

An MBA concentration in information technology is designed to combine business classes with information systems policies and practices. Information technology is the study of strategically using systems to access, store and protect information—a useful tool in handling delicate business data.

Human Resources

An MBA with a focus in human resources targets the areas of recruitment, management and providing guidance for employees of an organization or company. This concentration often offers training and education in how to efficiently and ethically manage the workforce of the organization.

Homeland Security

An MBA with a concentration in homeland security prepares students how to properly manage law enforcement, public safety and emergency medical care personnel and executive level agencies.

International Business

International business connects different parts of the world to each other through economic means—this concentration trains students to lead globally, emphasizing international business in a variety of cultural, political and social lenses.

Management Consulting

Students who pursue a specialization in management consulting, the practice of helping organizations improve their performance, will be able to interact with C-level personnel at client firms and learn how to advise them on important strategic issues.

Agri-Business Management

An agri-business management concentration program focuses on teaching students the ins and outs of how to properly manage the business of seed supply, agrichemicals, crop production, food distribution, farm machinery, as well as the marketing aspects of agri-business.

Dual Degrees and Concentrations: What’s the Difference?

A dual degree program is designed to allow students to combine both their MBA with another degree of choice. For example, a student who desires an MBA as well as a Master’s in Marketing should choose a dual degree program to pursue both degrees simultaneously. These programs are often longer than normal MBA programs, to incorporate both areas of study.

On the other hand, with a concentration, a student will only graduate with an MBA, but with a specific focus attached to their degree. These programs allow students to study a specific area within the MBA program, rather than being enrolled in two separate programs at once.


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